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What problems do you come across starting your horse in dressage?

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  • What problems do you come across starting your horse in dressage?

    This question is aimed more at amatuer owner/riders who have a horse, young or old, they are starting in dressage.

    I'd love to hear descriptions of initial challenges you had to overcome when starting your horse in dressage. Both physical (actual riding or training obstacles) and mental (knowledge based, etc) obstacles and problems would be great! And any ongoing issues you may have had...

  • #2
    Initial challenges????? How about ongoing challenges....?

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    • #3
      Biggest challenge - making the first transitions to canter without getting my arse bucked into the rafters.
      Then the ongoing challenge is establishing contact without letting them curl up behind.
      As I am starting a 4 yo 17+ hand baby right now, these are things I work on 3-4 times a week for the last 3 weeks. So far, so good. Those rafters are really close tho!
      bad decisions make good stories

      Comment


      • #4
        One early challenge I found to be at the walk and trot, to hold their shoulder up correctly and not drop it into the bend. It takes very strong outside leg and rein to hold them, and the rider must learn what this is. Turning with the outside rein is counter intuitive, but the horse finds a solid support and needs it to do lateral work correctly. Also, you have to really learn to sit back and down and keep off their shoulder. Coming from H/J where I spent most of my time in a half seat of some sort, this has been really tough, but essential for the horse so his shoulder can come up to me.

        Initially, my horse, and others I've observed, are "all over the place" wiggly and hard to go straight. First because THEY are not yet strong, second because the rider isn't holding them with the lower leg strongly enough. It requires lots of time trotting circles and sprials, and asking the horse to use his back correctly, keeping his outside shoulder from bulging (with your lower legs), and keeping the inside shoulder from dropping. I've been working on this for several months and finally am having a good, steady rhythmic gait which we can begin to vary longitudinally. But it takes alot of work and time to get strong laterally.
        Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Behind the 8 Ball View Post
          Biggest challenge - making the first transitions to canter without getting my arse bucked into the rafters.
          Then the ongoing challenge is establishing contact without letting them curl up behind.
          As I am starting a 4 yo 17+ hand baby right now, these are things I work on 3-4 times a week for the last 3 weeks. So far, so good. Those rafters are really close tho!
          Wow, at least it isn't just me. To the left we are grand, and he can step right into the canter from a walking half halt. To the right - I can't describe how hard it is for him. He goes well to the right on the longe and freely, so its me, alright, but we're getting it. Usually its because I tipped inside, didn't sit back enough, interfered in some way.

          One thing I learned is that if they are ready for canter departs, they are easier for the horse to do from a walk than from a trot, because in the walk there is a long space of time as the ouside hind comes down for him to come up and move into the correctly lead well.

          Also, be sure to ask for the depart from a correct, nice walk, and half halt just before, coming out of a circle onto the track. At the same time, be teaching him a rein back. Eventually you can ask for the canter depart from a rein back. All of this sounds more advanced than from a trot, but its not - the horse is more balanced from a walk and half halt at walk and from a rein back because his energy is gathered and under him. At a trot he is more possibly on his forehand, and there is less space and time for him to change from the trot to the one hind leg on the ground canter depart.

          The reasons my gelding bucks in the canter depart are because I am not sitting far enough back off his shoulder! Most depart problems come from them not being able to get their shoulder out, because we are sitting on them, so don't lean forward, lean back, sit back and down and allow him to take his time giving you the depart.

          Next trick - if you are asking from a trot, post on the wrong diagonal. Sit down, back, and ask from a half halt at the trot.
          Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

          Comment


          • #6
            When i decided to switch to dressage when my mare was 8 years old, i faced the typical physical issues but the biggest mountain to climb (and still climbing it) was the negativity of others.
            Surround yourself with encouraging as well as knowledgeable folks.

            Comment


            • #7
              Horse didn't come with pre-programmed anything. Lost the manual.
              Kelly
              It is rare to see a rider who is truly passionate about the horse and his training, taking a profound interest in dressage with self-abnegation, and making this extraordinarily subtle work one of the dominant motivations of his life.\"

              Comment


              • #8
                freez,
                i'm schooling changes now and i have to agree...trixie feels the need to create serious air time in her changes and boy can she launch herself straight up!!! hope you're wearing a helmet too!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Dressage reveals your dirty laundry. That's the beauty of it, and I really feel that's why it contributes to a better horse in any discipline.
                  So your dirty undies are probably different from mine, and our horse's have different dirty undies than the others on this board. The point is that you will begin to see all the short comings and be able to deal with them.

                  ...no matter how frustrating, big, small, weird, or typical. It's your laundry
                  www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                  chaque pas est fait ensemble

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Pet...i love your first sentence!!! Now my facebook status!!! hahaha

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, if I could remember my left from my right..... )

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        posted by PSJ:
                        Dressage reveals your dirty laundry. That's the beauty of it, and I really feel that's why it contributes to a better horse in any discipline.
                        So your dirty undies are probably different from mine, and our horse's have different dirty undies than the others on this board.
                        This is great. And SO true. I have two horses and their "dirty undies" are completely different colors (so to speak). One has plenty of impulsion, and is forward-going with nice suspension, but pretty tough to get her to relax through her neck and back. My young horse (4) is very soft and loose in her neck and jaw--but doesn't have that consistent "push" from behind and can sometimes get behind the contact. And my riding flaws are different for both horses as well.

                        But the best thing is when you learn to ride in those different "undies" and how much your horses improve. When I have a big grin on my face while I'm riding (because everything is working) is when doing all the dirty laundry is worth it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What problems do you come across Starting in dressage?

                          Knowing the diference between "fast" and "forward" and having the guts to actually ride "forward" all the time, no matter what is going on underneath you.

                          (Not that I've overcome this or anything!!! But at least I'm no longer in denial!)

                          NJR
                          Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behaviour does.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            FORWARD.

                            I have put 6 rides on my 3.5 yr old Oldenburg. The first 3 rides were on a lunge line and the 3rd ride had a tiny bit of trotting. Fourth ride was totally off the lunge and we trotted around the field for like 5 mins each way with breaks.

                            Fifth ride happened to be away at a young horse clinic and we did round pen work and the clinician (Dean Graham) was on and w/t/c with no issues.

                            Sixth ride (most of the rides are like honestly 2 weeks apart) was at another lesson off the farm with Dean and we were in a huge arena and he was on and within 8 mins was w/t/c and "hand galloping" to really just get him moving as he is not a forward thinking horse.

                            I got on after Dean and we were going around w/t/c and it was my first time cantering him outside of the round pen (and to the right). My biggest challenge is to resist the urge to grab the reins if he gets quick or I lose my balance and to quit trying to micro manage and use multiple aids at once like when you are riding a trained horse (inside leg, outside rein, left seat bone, all at once, etc).

                            We were actually cantering left, went across the arena at a 90 degree angle, I lost my balance a little, he did a flying change to the right, Dean starts yelling "Go right! Go right!" so we did and then we were cantering around on the right lead. lol

                            Rex is the easy part - I just have to remind myself to relax and do one thing at a time and make my aids very clear not overthink it so much.
                            ~~~~~~~~~

                            Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Trixie's mom View Post
                              When i decided to switch to dressage when my mare was 8 years old, i faced the typical physical issues but the biggest mountain to climb (and still climbing it) was the negativity of others.
                              Surround yourself with encouraging as well as knowledgeable folks.
                              I agree!!! People will try to bring you down if they see are having trouble. You and your horse know what you can do. We had obstacles with transitions and in the end he surprised me with what he could do. HANG IN THERE!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by KrazyTBMare View Post
                                FORWARD.
                                My horse was an eventer who got decent dressage scores due to natural good movement, but never had the solid dressage foundation really laid out for him, so when I got him in March we started with basics.

                                This is the one we STILL struggle with.

                                He's an OTTB who had no problems meeting time at Training events... so he knew fast, but forward/impulsion was a different story. Getting in front of the leg is still sometimes tricky, though he at least gets there every ride now. I don't think I will ever forget my trainer's excitement when she hopped on him at the end of one of my lessons for the first time in about a month and was super excited that she asked him to leg yield and he sped up -because it was the first time he showed that FORWARD tendency when she was riding him.
                                Originally posted by Silverbridge
                                If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Contact, if they have been taught incorrectly to start with, is the HARDEST challenge ever.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    My first challange???? The perfect 20 meter round circle...............

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Trixie's mom View Post
                                      When i decided to switch to dressage when my mare was 8 years old, i faced the typical physical issues but the biggest mountain to climb (and still climbing it) was the negativity of others.
                                      Surround yourself with encouraging as well as knowledgeable folks.
                                      Ditto. Especially true if you don't ride a "traditional" dressage breed. I like to think the best of people, but I've also had my fair share of negativity.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        The first couple rides? Not running into the fence!

                                        After that, it's contact. So very foreign to the babies. I don't do a ton of lunging in side reins before I start them though. I would rather start them hacking out in a field on a big circle, lots of straight lines, than do a bunch of lunging in a small circle.

                                        After that, it's getting the canter leads reliable. If you have one who can counter canter all day long, sometimes they just don't get the whole lead thing. Even when you try it from the leg yield, the walk, or any of the other variety of tricks that usually help to get the lead. Even worse when they would rather trot, so they start getting the wrong lead on purpose so they can come back down and try again.

                                        Comment

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